Alcon to acquire Swiss biotech firm, ESBATech for $589 million

Alcon, Inc., the consumer vision care products company is set to acquire to Swiss Biotechnology Firm, ESBATech AG for $150 million in cash and $439 million of additional payments based on milestones.

Hünenberg, Switzerland-based Alcon, majority owned by Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle, said that the acquisition would give it access to proprietary antibody fragment technology, particularly suited to treat eye diseases and establish sustainable platform for ongoing biologics development

Alcon will pay ESBATech shareholders $150 million in cash, plus contingent payments of up to $439 million based upon the achievement of future research and development milestones that would be expected to create value for Alcon.

''Biotechnology offers significant growth opportunities in ophthalmology because it has the potential to deliver therapies with superior efficacy and safety relative to existing approaches,'' said Sabri Markabi, Alcon's senior vice president of research and development and chief medical officer.

''Combining ESBATech's proprietary antibody fragment technology with our expertise in ophthalmic formulation and capabilities in global development will strengthen Alcon's leadership position in ophthalmology,'' he added.

With operations in 75 countries, products sold in more than 180 countries and 2008 sales of $6.3 billion, Alcon is the largest and one of the world's most profitable and specialised eye care company.